JAPAN NATIONAL INTERVIEW

JAPAN NATIONAL INTERVIEW

Japan National is the brainchild of Australian skater, artist, and designer, Marty Baptist. The brand is reflective of the inspiration Marty draws from each of the three trades, with the end result being wearable, everyday collections with flare and Marty's own eccentric signature. We caught up with Marty to dig a little deeper into the Japan National story. 
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on the Japan National story ... 

It started as an extension of my art practice, I was doing a lot of paintings and turning them into small print runs on shirts and stuff; making zines, etc. At the time I was collaborating with some big companies and figured it was time to tie it all into one thing. A lot of stuff out there seemed so stale, but the last thing I thought the world needed was another apparel brand; especially another brand involved in skateboarding (but that's me, I'm a painter and I've been skating since I was 11). I wanted Japan National to have a strong art feel and include guest artists who I admire. It's great to have people I respect involved, whether it's a guest artist or someone wearing the brand, it's a huge honour and nod to what we're doing.

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on major influences and inspirations ... 

Skateboarding, art, fashion, music. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere; album covers, Brit Pop and some 90’s culture such as The Face magazine. Early Supreme stuff was cool, I have some good friends that helped start that brand up and make it into the phenomenon that it is today. As far as design elements go that's always changing but I love the classics. At the moment I'm really digging the stuff Aquascutum are doing again.

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on staying true ... 

It helps to remember the reasons why you're doing it. Japan National was always going to be a brand that was going to stay light on it's feet and have a fresh take on the world and people around me. The moment you take it too seriously, it feels like you're starting to veer off course. Within months of Japan National starting, we were approached by a major chain for an order form but chose to decline. It's crazy but a lot of these 'small brands' out there are actually owned by giants. I think being hands on and having the art element will always keep us from conforming. Most things out there seem rehashed, I'm interested in re-invention, then the old becomes new again, same but different.

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on the current collection ... 

I'm liking the idea of constant change, so you cant be pinned down to one set style, sort of like treating a shirt or an anorak like a blank canvas. Being a smaller brand gives me the freedom to respond to what excites me and not just what is expected. Instead of getting stuck in fleshed out ranges I can transcend that, that would be our ethos, I guess. Our guest artists are inspiring, some are pro skateboarders, photographers - others fine artist's, it's all the same to me.

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on the current playlist ... 

Neil Young - Like A Hurricane 

The Replacements - Alex Chilton 

The DMA's - The End 

Ice T - Mind Over Matter

Paul Waller - The Changingman

Richard Ashcroft - They Don't Own Me 

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Check out Marty's artwork here ... 

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shop the Japan National range ... 

 

 

 

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